The outbreak of World War II
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The outbreak of World War II on September 3rd 1939 occurred due to numerous factors. These causes include the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles, the failure of the League of Nations linked to the isolation of the US, appeasement introduced by the British Prime Minister in the year 1937 and the Nazi-Soviet Pact signed between Hitler and Stalin on the 28th of August 1938 . Hitlers foreign policy had a huge impact on the outbreak of World War II because of its expansionism policy and the fact that Hitler wanted a German Reich. Hitlers other aims consisted of revenge for the Treaty of Versailles, a rearmament and he wanted to obtain Lebensraum for his Aryan population. All these points play a role for the outbreak of the war but some of them are more essential than others.
The Treaty of Versailles, signed on the 28th of June 1919 , was very well known for its harshness. In article 231 of this treaty Germany was forced to accept the War guilt of the First World War . This meant that Germany had to take complete responsibility for the war and its damages although they werent the only country involved in this war. The Treaty also obliged Germany to pay a sum of 11.3 billions pounds for reparation . On top of all this Germany lost most of its land and was forced to have an army of only 100,000 men . Of course Germany reaction towards this unfairness was disastrous and volatile. No wonder Hitler, being a patriotic man, wanted to tear this treaty up with this bear hands. The Germans were maltreated and accused for total fault. All Germans were angry at the ministers who had signed such a torturous pact and all wanted revenge just like Hitler. This accord was not made for peace but for provocation. That is why Hitler ceased his chance to demolish it and start a new war.
Another factor that caused the outbreak of the war was appeasement introduced by Neville Chamberlain. This policy stated that instead of starting a war one should negotiate, come to agreements and make compromises. This of course enabled Hitler to receive what he wanted because they would come to a compromise. Neville Chamberlain was so happy of his policy because it had achieved peace in our time that he did not realize how Hitler was asking for more territory and more advantages. Chamberlain just kept giving it so Hitler was getting spoiled and he did not need to use violence.
For example on the 15th of September 1938 Chamberlain met Hitler in Berchtesgaden where Hitler urged Chamberlain to convince the Czechs to hand over the Sudetenland (a Czechoslovakian territory which consisted mostly of Germans). Chamberlain handed the bully what he wanted but Hitler was unsatisfied. They then met again in the Munich agreement on 29th September 1938 where Chamberlain after being forced decided to hand all of Czechoslovakia to Hitler. This was appeasing Hitler because all he had to do was threaten the British Prime Minister of war and he would get what he wanted. The policy that Neville had introduced had failed and it had only acted as a passage for Hitler to go by and receive what he wanted.
The League of Nations was established in the Treaty of Versailles. This League main objective was to maintain peace and order although it failed to this due to numerous reasons. These reasons are the fact that the United States werent part of it and as David Low so blatantly stated it was used as a doormat . In other words this organization is useless because it is being used to wipe your feet and then go on. A good example for the League being maltreated would be the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 . The League ordered them to remove their troops but Japan rejected and since the League was ready for a war Japan got its way and was allowed to keep Manchuria. Not long after that Mussolini invaded Abyssinia in 1935 (modern day Ethiopia). The League tried making a compromise. They proposed that Mussolini get two thirds of Abyssinia and that the rest goes to the Abyssinians but this was not enough for Mussolini. This of course was a scandal and it also made Hitler realize that the League of Nations will not be an enemy but just a small organization trying to keep peace.
America took part in the Treaty of Versailles only to put it together and when it was done they just left and isolated themselves. Although it was the American president himself who came up with the idea of the League of Nations but he didnt join it. This of course weakened the League massively because America was the strongest ruling country at that time. Woodrow Wilson the American president wanted to join although the public opinion at the time was a complete no. Even as the years went on and the League failed to maintain order and peace the US didnt join and this a major factor in Hitlers point of view because it meant that he had less people to combat and that the biggest and strongest nation inthe world was not going to intervene with Europes quarrels.
The Nazi-Soviet Pact, signed 28th August, 1939 , played a major role in Hitlers depart towards war. This due to the fact that he had just gotten rid of a threat on the east so that he would only have to fight a one-front war plus he received exactly what he wanted and this part of Poland. This pact promised that both countries would remain neutral if a war was started so Hitler could attack Stalin if he wanted. This pact allowed Hitler to buy some time to rearm start the war and when he was ready he could fight a two-front war. These two nations also kept a secret clause which stated that they would invade Poland and split it in to use as a buffer zone.
Hitler and his foreign policy were also a major factor to the outbreak of WWII. His aims where to expand Germany to gather living space and resources, to reunite all German speakers in Europe, to rearm, to take revenge over the Treaty of Versailles, and to raise and Aryan population. These aims of course affected lots especially the expansionism and the reunification of all German speakers because this demanded territory. Taking revenge of the Treaty of Versailles was also a major factor because it meant that Hitler would break the rules set. He rearmed thus, getting over the limit of 100,000 soldiers and he marched in the demilitarized zone to conquer it again. Hitler also invaded the Polish Corridor and Czechoslovakia which were territories that had been created by the Treaty. He also allied with Austria which was banned. All this angered supporters of the accord and made Britain and France lose trust towards Hitler.
In conclusion one may say that there were lots of factors that caused the outbreak of World War II but undoubtedly Hitler and his aims were the biggest factor because he was linked to every cause. He was the reason why quarrels began because if someone else would have elected there would have not been any problems about reuniting the German speakers and expanding towards the east. Hitler can be majorly blamed although there is still one cause that takes full blame away and that is the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles.
Primary Sources:Low, David (1933) The DoormatSecondary Sources:De Marco, Neil (1987) The World This Century Harper Collins, London Pg 125Morris, Terry, Murphy, Derrick (2000) Europe 1870-1991 Harper Collins, London Pg 330Appeasement http://www.johndclare.net/EII3.htmNazi-Soviet Pact http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSnazipact.htmTreaty of Versailles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Versailles#Treaty_terms